Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI) has filed default judgement against investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure and three others at an Accra High Court for failing to file their defense in three defamation suits.
Azure, an Editor, Edwin Appiah, a Co-editor, Sulemana Briamah, Executive Secretary of Media Foundation for West Africa and Media Foundation for West Africa, were hauled over three different articles published by them against the LCI.
The three articles titled “Darkness in a Lighthouse, “published in April 2021, sought to launch an attack on the church and its leader, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills.
Another article published by the defendants was “Six Ministers of God labored for cumulative 42 years and five months without the payment of their pension contribution…. (By the church.)
They also published an article dubbed Seth Duncan “to attempt suicide three times and cut his scrotum”.
The motion for judgement in default of defense is expected to be moved on January 24, this year.
The LCI hold that its applications for judgement in default were grounded on Order 13 rule 6(1) of the High Court (Civil Procedure Rules), 2004 C. I 47.
In an affidavit in support of the three application for default judgement, the LCI held that searches conducted at the Registry of the High Court indicated that the four defendants had not filed defence to any of the three suits.
It recalled that the defendants counsel, Mr. Samson Lardy Anyenini, had been served with the three applications for judgement in default of defence.
The Church opined that days after defendants’ lawyer had entered appearance in the matter on December 20, last year, they further republished the articles on December 25, last year.
“These suits were published the Fourth Estate Facebook wall, on Manasseh Azure’s Facebook wall and that of Edwin Appiah’s Facebook wall,” the church observed.
LCI, last year, filed three different defamation suits against the defendants at an Accra High Court.
The LCI held that the defendants had among others published articles, one titled “Darkness in A light house”, which allegedly sought to launch a scathing and disparaging attack on the church and its founder, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills.
The articles were premised on a suit instituted by the church’s former pastors.
The suit said, Mr. Azure and others, although knew that the matter was pending before the court went ahead to make some pronouncement prejudicial to the matter before the court.
The church was therefore praying for an injunction restraining the defendants, their servants or agents from further publishing or causing to be published similar words, which were defamatory.
It also prayed the court for “an order directed to the defendants to ensure the removal of defamatory articles as well as their republication on other media sites from the internet.”
The LCI is praying for damages including, “Special aggravated and exemplary damages for libel contained on the websites published by the defendants and republication by many local and international media”
The church argued that the publications of the defendants suggested that the LCI, a Christian Organisation, falsely and deceptively pretended to give light and spiritual direction to persons seeking God while “indeed and in fact” it practiced other, the “exact opposite.”
According to the church, the Publication sought to portray that it used means of “cunning and subterfuge to lure people desirous of doing God’s work into its fold and “makes a shipwreck of their faith, leading them to hell instead of heaven.”